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Matadi Sela Petit from The Democratic Republic of Congo has died due to complications from surgery.
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The 8-year-old who was flown into the U.S. by former NBA player Dikembe Mutombo to have a massive tumor removed from his face reportedly passed during the surgical procedure at Cedars Sinai Hospital in L.A.
According to Mutombo’s Instagram Matadi went into cardiac arrest after suffering a “rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia” and was transferred to the ICU. The athlete shared his sympathy online:
MATADI SELA PETIT. The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation is sad to share the news of the passing of Matadi Sela Petit. Matadi was an 8 year old little boy with a vibrant and appealing personality. He was born in Kinshasa, DRC with a cleft lip and a facial tumor that enlarged as he grew.
Matadi was sponsored by the DMF and several partners to receive surgical treatment for his tumor by Dr. Ryan Osborne, founder and Director of Head and Neck Surgery at the Osborne Head and Neck Institute in Los Angeles, CA.
Matadi and his father were welcomed with open arms by Dr. Osborne, his team and the Cedars Sinai Hospital family as well as the Ronald McDonald House where he won everyone’s heart with his open and friendly attitude. During the delicate surgery, Matadi suffered a rare and unpredictable genetic reaction to anesthesia. Despite the diligent efforts of his medical caregivers, Matadi did not recover and he passed away last night.
We are devastated by the loss of Matadi and our heart goes out to his father, his mother and the rest of his family, and all his old and new friends. We are comforted by the knowledge that a whole “village” adopted Matadi and joined forces to offer him treatment that was not available in the DRC and which would have given him the opportunity to have a new and different life.
We thank Dr. Ryan Osborne and his team, the Cedars-Sinai Hospital medical team, the Ronald McDonald House, the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, the American Embassy in Kinshasa and all those who in large and small ways embraced Matadi and his family. He was a pioneer, and his memory will inspire us to continue to develop efforts and partnerships to improve the lives of the children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
R.I.P. young man.
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